The Economist's Apprentice

In which a little girl confronts the world and battles the anti-humans.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Terrorists Wear Dirty Diapers - And Their Mommies Are Big Farters

I was surprised to learn that many people have contempt for anonymous bloggers - some have called them cowards, etc. Being such a cutie face, I have a valid excuse. If I disclosed who I was, I would have dozens (from my profile view count, perhaps hundreds) of potential mommies wanting to snatch me up as their own. My mother is more than adequate, and probably better than the expected babynapper, so I choose to protect myself through anonymity. If a crafty babynapper does find out where I live, I want the milk companies to use the picture on the left. I am so adorable that everyone will be looking for me.

One scholar blogger uses his attack on anonymous blogging as a thinly disguised excuse to brag about himself. Now don't get me wrong, if I had his publications, the other kids on the baby swing would never hear the end of it. I'm not in a position to criticize self-promotion - do I really need to include my picture in every third post?

Anonymous bloggers are often called cowards. The Sensible Knave points out that anonymous bloggers may have special responsibilities to be civil, but they are not cowards. His argument is pretty convincing.

It reminds me of the habit of calling terrorists cowards. Most terrorists make huge sacrifices for beliefs they hold dear. Suicide bombers aren't cowards; they are evil. If they were cowards, they wouldn't be so much trouble. Why do people call terrorists cowards? Is it because it is fun to take cheap shots at evil people? Or is it because being evil has less stigma than being a coward? Perhaps, this abuse of language is optimal deterence, because fearless people are particularly loathe to being labeled a coward.

A similar abuse of logic is the common claim in Europe that soccer hooligans are not real soccer fans. The argument is that they really just enjoy getting drunk and beating people up. Now someone who was indifferent to soccer would not travel through Europe with their local soccer team to engage in drunken fights. This would make soccer hooligans like the only males in Europe who aren't soccer fans. This flimsy claim might be the strongest possible verbal deterent, exactly because hooligans are such rabid soccer fans.

I choose not to call terrorists cowards. Instead, I make up stories about how Osama's turban is full of dried boogers.

Note: The above posting has been changed based on an observation by The Sensible Knave, who quotes an earlier version.


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